tv President Obama on Immigration CSPAN February 3, 2013 10:30am-11:05am EST
many good friends. let me start off by thinking everybody at del sol high school for hosting us. [applause] go dragons. let me especially thing your outstanding principal. [applause] there are all kinds of notable guests here but i just want to mention a few. first of all, our outstanding secretary of the department of homeland security, and janet napolitano. [applause] our wonderful secretary of the interior ken salazar. [applause] former secretary of labor, hilda solis. [applause] two of the outstanding members of the congressional delegation from nevada, steve and gina. [applause] your own mayor, carolyn goodman. [applause]
we also have some mayors who flew in because they know how important issue we are to talk about today is. maria from arizona. qassim from atlanta, georgia. rick from phoenix, arizona. and ashley from fresno, calif. [applause] than all of you are here, as well as some of the top labor leaders in the country. we are so grateful. outstanding business leaders are here as well. of course, we have wonderful students here.
[applause] those of you have a seat, feel free to take a seat. i do not mind. i love you back. [applause] last week, i had the honor of being sworn in for a second term as president of the united states. [applause] and during my inaugural address, i talked about how making progress on the finding challenges of our time does not require us to settle every
debate or ignore every different we may have, but it does require us to find common ground and move forward in common purpose. it requires us to act. i know that some issues will be harder to lift than others. some debates will be more contentious. that is to be expected. but the reason i came here today is because of the challenge where the differences are dwindling, where a broad consensus is emerging, and where a call for action can now be heard coming from all across america. i am here today because the time has come for common sense comprehensive immigration reform. the time has come. now is the time. [applause] now is the time. [applause] now is the time. now is the time. [applause]
i am here because most americans agree that it is time to fix the system that has been broken for way too long. i am here because business leaders, faith leaders, labor leaders, law enforcement, and leaders from both parties are coming together to say now is the time to find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see america as the land of opportunity. now is the time to do this, so we can strengthen our economy, and strengthen our country's future. think about it. we define ourselves as a nation of immigrants. that is who we are, in our
bones. the promise we see in those that come here from every corner of the globe, that has always been one of our greatest strengths. it keeps our recourse young, a key to our country on the cutting edge, and helped to build the greatest economic engine the world has ever known. after all, immigrants help to start businesses like google, and yahoo!, they created entire new industries that in turn created new jobs and new prosperity. in recent years, one in four high-tech start-ups in america were founded by immigrants. one in four new small business owners were immigrants, including right here in nevada. folks who came here seeking opportunity and now want to share that opportunity with other americans. but we all know that today we have an immigration system that is out of date and badly broken. a system that is holding us
back, instead of helping us to grow our economy and strengthen our middle-class. right now, we have 11 million undocumented immigrants in america. 11 million men and women from all over the world who live their lives in the shadows. yes, they broke rules, they crossed the border illegally, maybe they overstayed their visas. those are the facts, nobody disputes them. but these 11 million men and women are here. many of them have been here for years. and the overwhelming majority of these individuals are not looking for any trouble. they are contributing members of the community. they are looking out for their families, looking out for their neighbors. they are woven into the fabric of our lives. every day, like the rest of us, they go out and try to earn a living. often, they do that in the shadow economy, a place where employers may offer them less than the minimum wage, or make them work overtime without
extra pay. and when that happens, it is not just that for them, it is bad for the entire economy. because all the businesses that are trying to do the right thing, hiring people legally, paying a decent wage, following the rules, they are the ones that suffer. they have to compete against companies that are breaking the
rules. and the wages and working conditions of american workers are threatened, too. so if we are truly committed to strengthening our middle-class and providing more ladders of opportunity to those who are willing to work hard to make it into the middle-class, we have got to fix the system. we have to make sure that every business and every worker in america is playing by the same set of rules. we have to bring the shadow economy into the light so that everyone is held accountable. businesses for who they hire, and immigrants for getting on the right side of the law. that is common sense. that is why we need comprehensive immigration reform. [applause] there is another economic reason why we need reform. it is not just about the folks that come here illegally, having the effect on our economy. it is also about the books that try to come here legally but have a hard time doing so, and the fact that has on our economy. right now, there are brilliant students from all over the world sitting in classrooms at our top universities. they are earning degrees in the fields of the future, like engineering and computer science. but once they finish school,
once they're in that diploma, there is a good chance they will have to leave our country. think about that. intel was starting with the help of an immigrant who studied here and stayed here. histogram the starting with the help of an immigrant who studied here and then stayed here. right now in one of those classrooms, there is a student wrestling with how to turn their big idea, there intel or instagram into a big business. we are giving them the skills to figure that out, but then we are going to turn around and tell them to start the business and create those jobs in china, or india, or mexico, or someplace else. that is not how you grow new industries in america. that is how you give new industries to our competitors. that is why we need comprehensive immigration reform. [applause] now, during my first term, we took steps to try to patch up
some of the worst cracks in the system. first, we strengthen security at the borders so that we could finally stem the tide of illegal immigrants. we put one puts on the ground on the southern border than in any other time in history. today, a legal crossings are down nearly 80% from their peak in 2000. [applause] second, we focused our enforcement efforts on criminals who are here illegally and in danger our communities. today, deportations of criminals is at its highest level ever.
[applause] third, we took up the cause of the dreamers. the young people who were brought to this country -- [applause] young people who have grown up here, have their lives here, teachers here. we said if you are able to meet basic criteria, like pursuing an education, then we will consider offering you the chance to come out of the shadows so that you can live here and work here illegally. so that you can finally have the dignity of knowing you belong. but because this change is not permanent, we need congress to act, and not just on the dream act. we need congress to act on a comprehensive approach that finally deals with the 11 million undocumented immigrants who are in the country right now. that is what we need. [applause] now, the good news is, or the first time in many years, republicans and democrats seem ready to tackle this problem together. [applause] members of both parties in both chambers are actively working on a solution.
yesterday, a bipartisan group of senators announced their principles for comprehensive immigration reform which are very much in line with the principles of a proposed and campaigned on for the last few years. so at this moment it looks like there is a genuine desire to get this done soon. and that is very encouraging. but this time, action must follow. we cannot allow immigration reform to get bogged down in an endless debate. we have been debating this for a very long time. it is not as if we do not know technically what needs to be done. as a consequence to help move this process along, today i am lying about my ideas for immigration reform, and my hope is this provides some key
markers to members of congress as the craft a bill, because the ideas i am proposing have traditionally been supported by both democrats like ted kennedy, and republicans like president george w. bush. you do not get that match up very often. we know where the consensus should be. of course, there will be rigorous debate about many of the details. and every stakeholder should engage in real give-and-take in the process. but it is important for us to recognize that the foundation for bipartisan action is already in place, and if congress is unable to move forward in a timely fashion, i will send up a bill based on my proposal and insist that they vote on it right away. [applause] so, the principles it are pretty straightforward. there are a lot of detail behind it.
we will hand out a bunch of papers so everyone knows we're talking about. but the principals are straightforward. first, i believe we need to stay focused on enforcement. that means continuing to strengthen security at our borders. it means cracking down more forcefully on businesses that knowingly hire undocumented workers. to be fair, most businesses want to do the right thing, but a lot of them have a hard time figuring out who is here illegally and who is not, so we need to implement a national system that allows businesses
to quickly verify some one's employment status. and if they still knowingly hire undocumented workers, the need to wrap up the penalties. second, we have to deal with the 11 million individuals who are here illegally. we all agree that these men and women should have to earn their way to citizenship. but for comprehensive immigration reform to work, it must be clear from the outset that there is a clear path to citizenship. [applause] we have got to lay out a path. a process that includes passing a background check, paying taxes, paying a penalty, learning english, and then going to the back of the line, beyond all the folks who are tried to come here legally. that is only fair.
that means it will not be a quick process, but it will be a fair process and will lift these individuals out of the shadows and give them a chance to earn their way to a green card and eventually to citizenship. [applause] and the third principle is we have to bring our legal immigration system into the 21st century. it no longer reflects the values of our time. for example, if you are a citizen, you should not have to wait years before your family is able to join you in america. [applause] he should not have to wait years -- you should not have to wait years. if you are a foreign student who was to pursue a career in science or technology, or a foreign entrepreneur that wants to start a business with the
backing of american investors, we should help you do that here. because if you succeed, you will create american businesses and american jobs. you will help us grow our economy, strengthen our middle- class. so that is what comprehensive immigration reform looks like. smarter enforcement, at a pathway to earn citizenship, improvements in the legal immigration system so that we continue to be a magnet for the best and brightest all around the world. it is pretty straightforward. the question now is simple. do we have the result -- resolve as a people, as a country, as a government, to finally put this behind us? i believe that we do. [applause] i believe that we do. [applause] i believe we are finally at the moment where comprehensive immigration reform is within our grasp.
but i promise you this, the closer we get, the more emotional this debate will become. immigration has always been an issue that inflames passions. that is not surprising. there are few things that are more important to us as a society than who gets to come here and call our country home. who gets the privilege of becoming a citizen of the united states of america. that is a big deal. when we talk about that in the abstract, it is easy sometimes for the discussion to take on a feeling of us versus them. and when that happens, a lot of folks forget that most of us used to be them. we forget that. [applause] unless you are one of the first americans, a native american, you came from somewhere else.
somebody brought you. [applause] he is of mexican-american descent but people live with he lived for four engineers. he did not emigrate anywhere. the irish, the germans who fled persecution, the scandinavian is who arrived eagerly, a polish, the russian, the italian, the chinese, the japanese, the west indians, the huddled masses that came through to ellis island. [applause] all those folks, before they were us, they were them. when its new wave of immigrants arrived, they faced resistance from those already here.
they faced hardship. they faced racism. they faced ridicule. over time, they went about their daily lives. they earned a living. they raised a family. they built a community. their children went to school year. they did their part to build the nation. they were the einstein's, the carnegies, and the millions of men and women whose names we do not remember but whose actions
helped make us who we are. they built this country, hand by hand. [applause] they all came here knowing that what makes someone american is not just blood or birth, but allegiance to our founding principles and the faith in the idea that anyone from anywhere can write the next great chapter of our story. that is still true today. allen is here this afternoon. where is he? he is around here -- there he is, right here. [applause] now, allen was born in mexico. [applause]
he was brought to this country by his parents when he was a child. growing up, he went to an american school. he pledged allegiance to the american flag. he felt american in every way and he was. except for one. on paper. in high school, allen lost his friends, of age, riding around town with their new licenses, earning extra cash from their summer jobs at the mall, and he knew he could not do those things. it did not matter that much. what mattered to him was earning an education so he could live up to his god-given potential. when he heard the news we would offer a chance for folks like him to emerge from the shadows, even for just two years at a time, he was one of the first to sign up. he was one of the first people in nevada to get approved two months ago.
[applause] he said he felt the fear vanish. he felt accepted. he is in his second year at the college of southern nevada. [applause] he is studying to become a doctor. [applause] he hopes to join the air force. [applause] he is working hard every single day to build a better life for himself and his family. all he wants is the opportunity
to do his part to build a better america. [applause] so in the coming weeks, as the idea of reform becomes more real, and the debate becomes more heated, and there are folks who are trying to pull this thing apart, remember allen and all those who shared the same hopes and st. james barrett remember this is not just a debate about policy. it is about people. it is about men and women and young people who want nothing more than the chance to earn their way into the american story. throughout our history, that has only made our nation stronger. that is how we will make sure this century is the same as the last. an american century. a welcoming of everybody who aspires to do something more. and is willing to work hard to do it. and is willing to pledge that allegiance to our flag.
member of the disappearing committee. he talks about immigration laws, and guns, and other topics. >> john mccain's 2000 campaign, when he ran for president, is the most memorable campaigns of any that i have ever covered or been around. we will never see it again. here he was, facing george w. bush, who had all of the is cards, the republican party backing him, but republican governors in new hampshire, all the money, and john mccain went out and held 114 town hall meetings, and he stayed there until every question was answered. he would see a light bulb go off about people's heads. when will we get a patient's
bill of rights? he would say, we are not going to get one until our party is owned by the insurance companies and the democrats by lawyers. he was totally open to the press. there was a candor, openness, a welcome this that no one had ever seen before and no one has ever seen since. >> mark shields on his career in politics and the washington press corps. >> at age 65, she won the oldest first lady when her husband became president, but she never stepped foot in washington. her husband benjamin harris died before going to washington. and there public and private lives, interests, and influence on the president. on the president.